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Reel Big Fish review: a very good and entertaining live show

PUBLISHED: 10:58 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 22 November 2019

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Go To The Gig

When growing up, Reel Big Fish was synonymous with the skating scene, and although I confess to being a portly, anti-skateboarding ''townie' at the time', mainly due to my inability to skate, I always had a lot of time for their booming ska ensemble.

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

In attendance, there was notably more receding hairlines than I recount hanging out at the Norwich Skate Park (now part of the more refined bus station), but the appetite for creating raucousness has not diminished.

Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of SoCal ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humour, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska, the group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream when their single Sell Out became a modern rock radio and MTV favourite.

British ska punk groups Lightyear and [Spunge] served as the openers for this show and were worthy of headlining their own shows and served as a great warm up on a rare evening that long john's were not necessary for the soaring temperature inside the sweat-sodden venue.

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Several attendees took the unconventional route of exit via crowd surfing, with some particularly more difficult to weight bear than others. Fortunately there were less ramp-fails and subsequent broken limbs than there was down the aforementioned skate park.

The line-up is different from the original set up that began in 1991, but with the exception of a number of hits from this year's new album Life Sucks… Let's Dance!, the make-up of the band's set is largely aligned to their 90s pomp. Having seen them for the first time, it was a great experience to sample and it was welcoming to hear that it was similar sounding almost three decades on, which can't be said for all long-time touring bands.

The show's setlists incorporated some of the much revered covers that Reel Big Fish have mastered over the years, including Toots and the Maytals' Monkey Man, Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl and A-Ha's Take On Me to boot.

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Reel Big Fish put on a very good and entertaining live show, closed out with one of their signature titles Beer, a very fitting tune bearing in mind the whole mosh pit was besmeared in it.

On a night where a large Norfolk collective revelled in mid-90s nostalgia, the Skate fathers of So-Cal Ska Punk demonstrated once again that their popularity has not waned and continue to perform consistently at the level that got them to the summit all those years ago.

- For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Facebook and Twitter

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

Reel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee HarperReel Big Fish headlining Epic Studios in Norwich on 20th November 2019. Picture: Lee Harper

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